SAP CX LIVE Sessions You Shouldn’t Miss in 2018 – hybrismart | SAP hybris under the hood

SAP CX LIVE Sessions You Shouldn’t Miss in 2018


We’re several weeks away from the SAP CX LIVE, the main SAP Customer Experience event. It’s time to plan your agenda. There are about 350 sessions in two days and all had merit. In this article, I highlighted some of the sessions I’m most looking forward to.

Let’s start with the general recommendations on how to get better prepared for the summit. In my past, I organized two large IT events in Russia (thousands of attendees) and participated as a speaker in tens of others. So this experience enables me to see at the summit from the different perspectives.

  • Don’t forget business cards. Take a bag with a shoulder strap(s) or be empty-handed. Remember, that SAP will likely give you a bag full of handouts. Carrying two bags all day is exhausting. Have a pen, a charger, an external battery for your phone.  Have a place for other people’s business cards.
  • With 350 sessions in two days and thousands of visitors, the schedule is going to be dense with a lot of parallel sessions. Be prepared to have a lot of schedule conflicts, delayed and unexpected meetings. In the case of session schedule conflicts, I recommend to prioritize them in advance: the sessions which are not going to be available in replays has likely not to be postponed. SAP doesn’t publish all the recordings, and many of the sessions are not recorded at all. Hopefully, some of the 2018 sessions will be available in replays.
  • Personally, I prefer to take photos of the business cards, printed materials and all interesting slides.
  • I recommend to plan your schedule beforehand, as accurately as possible.
  • Some sessions can be limited to a number of attendees due to safety requirements.  So make sure you get your seat early. For the “open-space” presentations it is not so critical (although you can have troubles hearing or seeing the presenter staying behind a crowd), but for lecture rooms, the organizers won’t let you in if there are too many people inside or all seats are occupied.
  • Some sessions advertise third-party services. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is good to know that beforehand. Some presentations are of look-how-cool-we-are type. They tell nothing useful but the fact that the company or speaker is cool and mighty. Try to recognize it before the show starts.

I’d thought hard before picking a set of sessions to recommend. Of course, the choice was quite subjective. The sessions picked are mainly technical, because they are fully within the scope of my interests. There is a lot of other interesting stuff, such as product demos, presentations and master classes I haven’t mentioned but you may think I should have to. I needed to keep the list as short as possible and I tried to have no parallel sessions: otherwise, it will be useless. You can’t be in two places at once. So find the full list here: https://sessioncatalog.sapevents.com/go/agendabuilder.sessions/.

Wednesday


(Wed, 12:30) Look Ahead at the Road Map for SAP Commerce Cloud

When: Wed, 12:30 p.m. – 01:10 p.m.

Where: Customer Experience Area

Speakers:

  • Lisa de Souza, Lead for Product Management, SAP Customer Experience Commerce, SAP Customer Experience
  • Riad Hijal, Global VP Commerce Strategy and Solution Mgmt, SAP Customer Experience

The original description from SAP: Get an overview of the guiding principles and strategy for innovating the SAP Commerce Cloud solution. You’ll gain insight into the short- and long-term road map, as well as key focus areas such as machine learning, customer experience, product content management, and integration. Join this session and learn how SAP Commerce Cloud is enabling you for success.

My two cents: It is a great opportunity to ask about the roadmap and its rationale. I recommend you to get prepared and look at the current SAP Commerce Cloud Roadmap (https://www.sap.com/products/roadmaps.html). The roadmap is dated September 2018. I don’t think we’ll see any significant changes in the slides in the next two weeks, and it is just a couple of slides. 

(Wed, 12:15) Follow the Best Route to SAP Commerce Cloud: A Clinic Session

When: Wed, 12:15 p.m. – 01:15 p.m.

Where: Technical Track

Speaker:

  • Juergen Albertsen, Chief Architect SAP Commerce, SAP Customer Experience

The original description from SAP: “Bring your challenges, ideas, and questions. Join this open and unformatted discussion with the experts and discover how you can make the transition to the cloud.”

My comments: Juergen is one of the authors of Hybris / SAP Commerce Cloud. I strongly recommend joining him at this session, especially if you are a solution architect. 

(Wed, 01:30, TT) Experience Project “Kyma” as a Developer

When: Wed, 01:30 p.m. – 02:30 p.m.

Where: Technical Track

Speaker:

  • Borja Clemente Castanera, Senior Developer, SAP Customer Experience

The original description from SAP: “Walk through project “Kyma” from source to deployment. Learn about the pillars of “Kyma,” such as documentation, UI, and CLI. Watch the customization of an example and the deployment to the registry using documentation. See the service deployed to the UI and exposed and find out about tracing.”

My comments: Kyma addresses the need to provide a lightweight framework to build custom extensions to SAP’s commerce portfolio based on cloud-native technologies and eventing. Looks like this workshop is a good technical introduction to the new SAP technology.  

(Wed, 02:45) Combine Two Winners: Integrating Marketing and Commerce

When: Wed 02:45 p.m. – 03:45 p.m.

Where: Technical Track

Speakers:

  • Fernando Redondo, Technical Trainer, SAP Customer Experience
  • Nidhi Agarwal, Product Owner – SAP Marketing Enablement, SAP Customer Experience

Official description from SAP: “Get an overview of the technical stack and architecture of SAP Marketing Cloud and SAP Commerce solutions and their touch points. Learn how to enrich the visitor profile, personalize a Web shop, and show product recommendations and offers. See how to replicate consumers, products, and orders to SAP Marketing Cloud with how-to details followed by a live demo.”

My opinion: This is a live demo and Q&A session. Great for those who takes first steps in the SAP Marketing projects. If I were present on the session, I’d ask Nidhi and Fernando about using knowledge-based recommender systems and how they can be leveraged or integrated with collaboration filtering based methods supported by SAP Marketing. The simplest example is creating a rule saying that any of iPhone accessories cannot be recommended for the shopping cart containing an Android phone, but Samsung quick charger is a good compliment for a Samsung phone.

(Wed, 04:00) Find Out Everything You Wanted to Know About Implementing SAP Commerce Cloud But Were Afraid to Ask

When: Wed, 04:00 p.m. – 05:00 p.m.

Where: Technical Track

Speakers:

  • Richard Ashby, Global Program Manager, SAP Customer Experience
  • Bruno Siqueira, Senior Technical Consultant, SAP Services
  • Valentina Reynaud, Solution Architect, SAP

Official description: Sometimes things get lost in the hype. With the release of SAP Commerce Cloud solutions, you may find yourself wondering about some things, Chances are, so are many others. We cover some of the big questions around implementation that we hear time and again to help you see the blue sky behind the clouds.

My comments: This is a technical 1-hour master class from Richard, Bruno and Valentina, one of two presented by them. The description is too broad, but it is a great opportunity to pick their brain.

(Wed, 05:15) Take the SAP Commerce Solution to Next Level: A Performance Improvement Case Study

When: Wed 05:15 p.m. – 06:15 p.m.

Where: Technical Track

Speakers:

  • Matt Ruan, Technology Senior Consultant, SAP China Co., Ltd.

Official description: Go step by step with the SAP Customer Experience Expert Services team and find out how they helped a site perform with 55,000 active users with a theoretical ability to place 140,000 orders in 15 minutes. Hear about the next steps to reach 100,000 concurrent active customers.

My comments: Performance optimization is one of the most frequently raised topics when the number of cores is limited by the licence, but the customer traffic is increasing. SAP Commerce Cloud has its limits, but there are ways to make it more efficient. Page fragment caching, DTO caching. For me personally, the most interesting topic is the ways of scaling the database up for high traffic. Specifically, handling the performance issues for the B2B system, where all sessions have a unique user, and platform caches won’t work well. SAP Commerce Cloud out-of-the-box is not capable to work with separate data sources – possibly, SAP has a solution for that? Also, I would ask Matt about the promotion engine in the setup with 140,000 orders in 15 minutes. The promotion engine cannot be moved to its own cluster, and it is working in the stateless mode, it consumes a lot of memory, and per-request initialization is slow too.

This master class is conflicting with another master class in the same technical track, “Extend SAP Commerce Cloud Solutions Using SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory”.

(Wed, 05:15) Extend SAP Commerce Cloud Solutions Using SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory

When: Wed 05:15 p.m. – 06:15 p.m.

Where: Technical track.

Speaker:

  • Brendan Dobbs, Development Architect, SAP Customer Experience

Official description: “Learn about developing and provisioning microservices for solutions that are part of the SAP Customer Experience portfolio. See examples of services consumed directly from the front end and services that replace core functionality. Other examples demonstrate UI extensions and the integration of multiple applications.”

My comments: Brendan Dobbs is one of the pioneers in Hybris, the consultant with very strong technical background and deep understanding of how Hybris/SAP Commerce works under the hood. This presentation is mainly about microservice architecture, but I am sure that the things he will present will be in the convergence of different technologies including SAP Commerce.

This master class is conflicting with another master class in the same technical track, “Take the SAP Commerce Solution to Next Level: A Performance Improvement Case Study“.

Thursday


(Thu, 11:30) Take a Look Behind the Scenes of the New SAP Commerce Cloud

When: Thu, 11:30 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

Where: Customer Experience Area

Speaker:

  • Axel Grossmann, Enterprise Architect, SAP Customer Experience

Official description: “SAP Commerce Cloud has undergone many enhancements and refinements. Learn how we use technologies like Kubernetes and Docker to turn SAP Commerce Cloud into a highly scalable public cloud solution. Join this session to hear about the enhancements we have made to the platform architecture that underpins the new SAP Commerce Cloud.”

My comments: One of the most interesting presentations for me. Due to the cloud nature, this product from SAP is a black box, and understanding the details of architecture will help you to see the bigger picture and make better decisions.

(Thu, 12:15) Search for the Relevant Search Result

When:  Thu 12:15 p.m. – 01:15 p.m.

Where: Technical Track

Speakers:

  • Stephan Beutel, Technology Senior Consultant, SAP
  • Miguel Vieira Ferreira, Senior Technical Consultant – Expert Services, SAP

The original description from SAP: “The quest for the relevant search result starts and stops right here in this hands-on session. Join senior consultants from the SAP Customer Experience organization to learn how to optimize Solr searching in your SAP Commerce solution.”

My comments: This is a great opportunity to know more about Solr-Hybris integration and tuning Solr for specific tasks. Personally, I’m interested in such challenging topics as user-specific search results (when some results are hidden for some users because of no access), field-wise indexing (for the case when the data retrieval phase for the Solr document is too slow/resource-intensive).

This master class is in conflict with the 20-min presentation, “Get Acquainted with the Chatbot for SAP Commerce Cloud” by Karsten Illing.

(Thu, 12:30) Get Acquainted with the Chatbot for SAP Commerce Cloud

When: Thu, 12:30 p.m. – 12:50 p.m.

Where: Customer Experience Area

Speaker:

  • Karsten Illing, Product Owner of SAP Enterprise Chatbot, SAP Customer Experience

Official description: “Be one of the first to get your hands on the new front-office chatbot for SAP Customer Experience solutions. Built using SAP Conversational AI services, the bot is preintegrated into the SAP Commerce Cloud solution and helps retailers and brands to enrich their experiences with a new, messenger-based commerce channel.”

My comments: The topic of conversational commerce attracts much attention: a number of large retailers are already experimenting with chatbots and there are great results. Amazon Echo, Google Allo, a lot of bot frameworks ready to get integration with any e-commerce platform. SAP developed their own bot platform (https://www.sap.com/products/conversational-ai.html)  and integrated it with their current solutions. For me, it is interesting to know if these bots support dialogs (ability to build a context and use it in conversations) and could they be used to enrich customer information through questions.  In addition to being a product owner of Enterprise Chatbot, Karsten Illing is also an experienced solution architect, so I expect he is a great point of contact for any technical questions on the topic.

(Thu, 01:30) Solve Personalization Challenges with SAP Commerce Cloud, Context-Driven Services

When: Thu, 01:30 p.m. – 02:30 p.m.

Where: Technical track

Speaker:

  • Markus Balsam, Development Architect, SAP Customer Experience
  • Sebastian Mahr, Lead Architect, SAP Customer Experience

Official description: “We present an end-to-end closed-loop personalization use case with a “behind the scenes” technical deep-dive on how to connect storefronts in SAP Commerce Cloud with context-driven services and how to solve advanced personalization challenges under load at scale. Get insights into lambda functions, real-time reporting, and real-time segmentation.”

My comments: Context-Driven Services is part of SAP Cloud Service.  The integration of these with SAP Commerce allows you to capture multiple interactions and commerce events from a storefront and to process it in Context-Driven Services Foundation in real time. This is a new name for Hybris Profile (via YaaS). If you are not familiar with Hybris Profile, but consider to use the SAP Cloud Service, this workshop is a great start.

(Wed, 02:00) Look Ahead at the Technology Strategy for SAP Commerce Cloud

When: Wed, 02:00 p.m. – 02:20 p.m.

Where: Customer Experience Area

Speaker:

  • Juergen Albertsen, Chief Architect SAP Commerce, SAP Customer Experience

Official description: As the market requirements for commerce platforms continue to evolve, we are continuously enhancing the platform architecture for the SAP Commerce Cloud portfolio. Join us for an overview of the technology strategy design we’re following to enable super-scalability, flexibility, and agility. See the roadmap for the platform architecture of SAP Commerce Cloud.”

My comments: This presentation is a great opportunity to see the roadmap through eyes of the chief architect of SAP Commerce, Juergen Albertsen. He has been working with hybris from the very beginning and knows everything 🙂    

(Wed, 04:00) Take a Deep Dive into SAP Commerce Cloud

When: Wed, 04:00 p.m. – 05:00 p.m., Thu, 02:45 p.m. – 03:45 p.m.

Where: Technical Track

Speaker:

  • Axel Grossmann, Enterprise Architect, SAP Customer Experience

Official description: Look behind the scenes of SAP Commerce Cloud v2. Watch a demo that shows you how you can customize, build, deploy, scale, and monitor your solution. Learn how we leverage and extend technologies like Kubernetes and Docker to turn it into a true cloud solution.”  

My comments: Axel Grossmann is one of the longest-serving members of the Hybris team. I think his workshop is a must-attend session. If you want to understand the concepts and architecture of SAP Commerce Cloud in full, be sure to come.

(Thu, 04:00) Migrate to SAP Commerce Cloud

When:  Thu, 04:00 p.m. – 05:00 p.m.

Where: Technical track

Speakers:

  • Richard Ashby, Global Program Manager, SAP Customer Experience
  • Bruno Siqueira, Senior Technical Consultant, SAP Services
  • Valentina Reynaud, Solution Architect, SAP

Official description: “Whether you’re a customer of our on-premise solutions, new to the SAP Customer Experience portfolio, or running a legacy SAP Commerce Cloud solution, this session is for you. We outline the technical recommended practices we have built up from our experience completing cross-solution migrations.”

My comments: This master class should shed a light on the differences between the on-premise and cloud versions of SAP Commerce Cloud. It is marked as “technical” and “1-hour master class”, so I expect it to be very focused on architecture rather than business features. In the absence of information about the cloud version in the documentation, this master class is going to be really interesting.

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